9 Gifts for D.C. Dads (That You Don’t Have to Wrap)

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How many ties, BBQ tool sets and “Best Dad Ever” T-shirts can one dad possibly stand in a lifetime? This year, consider ditching the perennial (aka lame-o) favorites and give your best dad (or grand-dad) a gift of an experience that will give him some amazing memories to savor well beyond summer.


New In-town Treasure
Yards Park, one of the newest D.C.-area parks and a great addition to the public spaces scene, sits between the current Navy Yard and Nationals Park and offers a little boardwalk along the Anacostia River. The metro, stores and restaurants are just steps away.  There’s even a fountain area that has lights that change colors. Little ones can wade in the fountain and play.

Wine and Jazz
If your honey loves wine, they might want to enjoy spending part or all of Father’s day tasting wines from around the region and listening to live jazz at the Manassas Wine and Jazz Festival ($20/adult tasters and $10/adult non-tasters; 12 pm-7 pm). 9101 Prince William St. (Manassas, Va).


The Hamilton Live
Get Father’s Day off to a fun start with a special Father’s Day Gospel Brunch at the Hamilton Live venue, downtown near the White House. Both 10 am and 12:30 pm shows offered on June 15 feature the music of The Gospel Persuaders. The brunch includes a full all-you-can-eat buffet filled with breakfast classics (waffles and scrambled eggs) and Southern dishes (grits and biscuits…yummmm). Tickets are $40-$50 per person. 600 14th St., NW (Metro Center)

Go Nats!
Whether you give him a night off to hang with friends at Nationals Park or get the whole family into the game, what could be better than an afternoon or evening at a Nats game! The weekend after Father’s Day the Nats take on the Atlanta Braves (June 21 at 7:15 pm and June 22 at 1:35 pm). Family Fun package tickets, which include a hot dog, chips and soda start at $19/per person. Children under 10 attend free. Tickets can be purchased online and at the Manassas Old Town Visitors Center in the train depot.


Ditch Sesame Street
Instead, go to Avenue Q, a Tony-winning best satirical musical that is essentially a live puppet show for adults and great date-night treat (sans kiddos) that will leave your sides hurting due to the extremely clever cast and witty script. Showing at the Olney Theatre starting Father’s Day week June 11-July 6, tickets start at $43.50 for adults. 2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Rd. (Olney, MD)

The First, First-Family Man
Let Dad get a historical perspective with a little time at Mt. Vernon, where the First Father of our country, General Washington, will be greeting visitors and posing for photographs from 10 am-7 pm on Father’s Day. Then, “George” will discuss his role as husband, stepfather, and Father of Our Country at 11 am, 1 pm, and 3 pm in the program “Father to the First Family.” A bonus is the free admission to George Washington’s Distillery & Gristmill, located three miles down the road, where Dad can learn about the historic process of whiskey-making in this reconstruction of the largest 18th-century distillery in America.

Let Him Roar
Disney’s The Lion King, winner of 6 Tony awards, is coming to John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts just after Father’s Day, running June 17-Aug 17. Tickets run from $40-$190 per person. 2700 F St., NW (Foggy Bottom)

rob briscoe

Head Out to the Country
Just a short trip from D.C. is Cosca Regional Park , a 690-acre park in Prince George’s County featuring a huge lake with paddle boats, fishing, trails for horseback riding and hiking, tennis courts, camping and playground areas, a nature center, snack bar and more. 11500 Thrift Rd. (Clinton, Maryland)  

Cave Men Rule
If you haven’t yet journeyed out to the Luray Caverns in Northern Virginia, this is a fun family day trip that is sure to please even the hardest to satisfy caveman as well as the kiddos. Pack plenty of snacks and a lunch for your adventure. Note: this trip is not for the weary—the tour is about an hour and you’ll cover 1.25 miles. Strollers are OK but bring the smaller one you have due to some of the stairs and steep inclines on parts of the tour ($24/adults; $12/kids 6-12; free/5 and under). Admission gets you access and the Luray Caverns tour, a self-guided tour of the Car and Carriage Caravan, and the Luray Valley Museum. 101 Cave Hill Rd. (Luray, Va)

What are your Father’s Day gift plans? Tell us in the comments section below. 

—Kristina Messner

Photos courtesy of The Hamilton via Facebook, Olney Theater Center via Facebook, The Yards Park via Facebook, Photo courtesy of Rob Brisco via Creative Commons